Metafictional Murder in South Korea [Literature event 10th July]

If you squint and tint your head slightly, you can probably get away with counting this event as one of the first Korean literature translated events taking place this year. I am not taking into account the monthly KLN (Korean Literaure Nights) evenings held by KCCUK. Or the Beyond Words X The Enemies project, poetry collaboration between Korean and British poets.  Nor am I counting the Translation Pitch event that took place at the Free Word Centre recently. I am also not including Min Jin Lee’s talk at Asia House held in May on her second novel titled Pachinko. (No translation included in the latter.) 

There are very few Korean literature events taking place these days but I am very excited about this one and urge you all to come. Especially if you are interested in literature.  Firstly,  you get to meet one  of South Korea’s hottest young authors, Han Yujoo. You also hear partial readings of her debut novel (translated to English) The Impossible Fairytale (translated by Janet Hong) in both Korean and English. She will talk about lifting the lid on Seoul’s experimental lit scene,  she will also talk about her experiences of translating Geoff Dyer and running a press called Oulipo. 

The ticket price is almost the same as a large Starbucks frappucicno. £5 (concession £3). But in place of a cold coffee, you get a nicer chilled glass of wine  (included in the price) meet like minded folk and perhaps get to ask a question or two…

Oh and if you wanted to buy and read the book ahead of coming – pop along here to order it  – Tilted Axis Press.

Until I take the plunge in writing book reviews, we will just have to make do with partial quotes from The NewYorker and The Economist respectively to get a sense of how awesome this book is. Click on the names highlighted below to be taken to the full review.

“The narrative turn is both exuberantly postmodern and in dead earnest, questioning the use of suffering as an aesthetic device.” The NewYorker

“Janet Hong, the translator, proves adept with both the skin-prickling horror of the novel’s first half, and the second half’s dark night of the literary soul.” The Economist.

Han Yujoo at the Korean Cultural Centre, UK 13th May 2016
  • Presented By: Tilted Axis Press
  • Mon 10 Jul 2017
  • 6:45pm – 8:00pm
  • 1 hr 15 mins
  • Free Word Centre


Mixing horror story with literary theory, The Impossible Fairytale has garnered rave reviews as “a novel of hypnotic language, page-turning suspense, & mind-bending metafictional twists” – a huge challenge for translator Janet Hong.

Author Han Yujoo will discuss how South Korea’s young writers are reinventing form and language, why she chose to write herself into her debut novel, and the dark social realities leading her country to be dubbed ‘Hell Joseon’.

With a brief bilingual reading, we’ll also explore the challenges and delights of translation both into and out of Korean.

Book here

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